U.S. Economic Development Administration updates its strategic guidelines to create equitable, resilient community revitalization

Here at RECONOMICS Institute, the Society for Revitalization & Resilience Professionals, we’ve always recognized that it’s both sensible and crucially important to combine revitalization and resilience efforts.

After all, both goals are best achieved via the same activities: repurposing, renewing and reconnecting our natural, built and socioeconomic assets, as documented in the 2020 book, RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity.

What more, resilience efforts can seldom be properly funded if they don’t achieve economic revitalization goals, and people want local revitalization to last; not just be a flash in the pan. In other words, they want it to be resilient.

And, they want the benefits to be equitable and inclusive; to extend to all local residents, not just the already-wealthy elite (which is a major goal of the new RISING PLACES initiative).

So, we were pleased when, on April 25, 2023, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)—a part of the Commerce Department—announced an enlightened update to its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Content Guidelines.

The update recommends four new or updated topics for inclusion in future CEDS, all of which are crucial to creating equitable, resilient community revitalization.

The newly-released language contains recommendations focused on:

  • Climate Resilience. The United States has experienced an increase in the frequency and severity of climate and weather disruptions that are associated with climate change. By planning for and becoming more resilient to climate change, communities and regions can protect their investments while also taking advantage of new economic development opportunities driven by environmental sustainability.
  • Equity. Incorporating equity and inclusive economic development into the CEDS strengthens the quality of the process and the integrity of the document while making regions more economically competitive.
  • Workforce Development. CEDS should highlight employer-driven, place-based workforce development efforts as an essential underpinning of the broader economic development strategy.
  • Broadband. The availability of high-speed internet is central to effective economic development. However, by one estimate, more than 30 million Americans do not have access to broadband infrastructure that delivers even minimally sufficient speeds. Effective CEDS will be attentive to capacity gaps in the digital infrastructure of their regions.

The CEDS Content Guidelines are a living template that evolves in response to the changing needs and priorities of the economy,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo.

The addition of the new content areas of climate resilience, equity, workforce development, and broadband are the culmination of a successful process of consultation and collaboration between EDA and its partners across government and the private sector,” she added.

CEDS are a key component in establishing and maintaining a robust economic ecosystem by helping to build regional economic development capacity that contributes to individual, business, and community success.

They provide a vehicle for individuals, organizations, local governments, institutes of learning, underserved communities and private industry to engage in a meaningful conversation and debate about what efforts and initiatives would best serve economic development in the region.

Photo of renovated home by F. Muhammad from Pixabay.

See the updated CEDS Content Guidelines.

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